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Ask Adrian: Advice on using a 4G router instead of broadband and blocking scam texts and calls

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Huawei’s B535 will stretch your 4G signal from a Sim card up to around 10 metres around your home

Huawei’s B535 will stretch your 4G signal from a Sim card up to around 10 metres around your home

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Google Nest Hub 2nd Gen

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Huawei’s B535 will stretch your 4G signal from a Sim card up to around 10 metres around your home

Question My all-copper landline broadband is very poor. I was wondering if I can purchase a 4G router anywhere, separately from a contract, and use an ‘all-you-can-eat’ data Sim with this router. I have a 4G signal from Eir and Three. Any suggestions? — John McCarthy

Answer
Yes — you can do this, although see below for a few considerations.
There are several models that will do the job here — TP-Link’s N300 Wireless 4G LTE Router (€110 from Harvey Norman) or Huawei’s B535 (€140 from Amazon but a little cheaper if you buy with a Three prepay Sim card) are both decent and will stretch your 4G signal from a Sim card up to about 10 metres (33 feet) from the router.
The only thing I’d double-check before going down this route is the strength of the 4G signal in the spot where you intend to put the router. As I’m sure you know and have already tested — but this might not be obvious to some other readers — a strong 4G signal outside your door or at your window might not be a strong signal in a corner of your sitting room or under a hall table.
The way of checking this is to get a phone with either an Eir or Three Sim card in it and run a speed test (by downloading the free ‘Speed Test’ app on your iPhone or Android phone). That will not only tell you the speed of the 4G signal (it really should be above 10Mbs to be worth using as even a basic broadband substitute) but also the quality of it (in the ‘ping’ time — lower is better).
The only other element I’d consider is how much data you use. A normal household’s monthly data use these days is anywhere between 250GB and 750GB of data, depending on how many people are in the house and how often you watch things like Netflix in 4K quality on your TV.
If that sounds like you, you will need an ‘all-you-can-eat’ package. But if it’s more modest than that, you’ll save a ton of money by getting a Sim card from Gomo or 48. Gomo, (€15 a month) is owned by Eir while 48 (€11 a month) is owned by Three. Both services use the same 4G network as their owners, but for a lot less. Both Sim cards can be simply stuck into the router and switched on for instant broadband.


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